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-Oscar Wilde
Brilliant at Breakfast title banner "The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
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Friday, May 17, 2013

Happy Belated 50th Birthday to Motown
Posted by Jill | 5:56 AM
Yesterday was the 60th anniversary of Motown Records.

When I was a little white kid in the suburbs, I wasn't crazy about Motown. I was eight years old in 181963, not much older in the years that followed, and I just didn't get it. The one Motown act I did like was the Four Tops, but how could you not? Levi Stubbs' voice was like a cry in the darkness, and that mournful quality clearly resonated with a depressed pre-adolescent living in an emotionally chaotic home.

Many decades later, I sometimes listen to "Rhythm Revue" on WBGO on Saturdays and realize just how AMAZINGLY GOOD this stuff was. One of the reasons for that was the most unappreciated musicians in the history of popular music, the Funk Brothers. The 2002 documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown gave a detailed look at the band that made the Motown sound what it was. If you've never seen it, you shouldn't miss it.

Listen here to the late Marvin Gaye lip-syncing "Ain't That Peculiar" on one of those now-hilarious old music variety shows and try to tell me that it ISN"T the band that makes this song great:

That's James Jamerson on the bass.

Now check out "Can't Help Myself" with the vocals stripped out:

Sure, the vocals were great. But it's the band that made the sound.


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Anonymous The WP said...
You look terrific for 150 year old! You must publish your secret!

Blogger D. said...
As it happens, I've spent the last two weeks on a Temptations jag, so this is providing additional musical direction.

(I was put off Motown by a classmate who told me I had to like it [this is calculated to cause an aversion to what I'm supposed to like] and the somewhat metallic sound of the Marvelettes. Go figure. I also woke up thirty years ago and realized that that stuff had worked its way into my cells.)

Anonymous CC said...
"I was eight years old in 1863..."

Wow, Jill, you were around when Lincoln was president? I'd sure like to know your secret to longevity.;)

Blogger Bob said...
Enjoyed The Snakepit instrumentals.